Officials: MTA gets $500K for fencing after boy’s death

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NEW YORK (AP) – The Metropolitan Transit Authority created a new task force that will survey the entire Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad to repair fencing along the tracks following the death of a boy struck by a commuter train earlier this month, public officials announced Saturday.

The MTA will get $500,000 in federal funds to erect fencing around exposed tracks, the officials said.

Ari Kraft, 13, was struck and killed by an LIRR train Jan. 5. The teenager and three friends had been painting graffiti on the elevated tracks near a station.

As the Queens teenager crossed the tracks to head home, the train, carrying about 1,000 people, slammed into him.

Kraft reportedly entered the LIRR tracks through a fencing gap near where the accident happened. The LIRR and Metro-North have more than 1,400 miles of track.

At a news conference unveiling the creation of the task force, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who represents Queens and Brooklyn, said he’ll also introduce “Ari’s Law.”

The dead boy’s father, Roger Kraft, told WABC-TV that the law’s introduction was a good start.

“Let Ari’s memory be dedicated to much more than Long Island railroad tracks,” he said. “Let it be dedicated toward politicians caring more about the safety of our people.”

The legislation would create a federal railroad safety program and direct the government to study railroad safety. The program would make $20 million in federal funding available to municipalities for fencing protective structures surrounding railroad tracks near homes and schools.

“Ari’s story is an unfortunate tragedy and just as tragic is the fact that we haven’t done enough to prevent accidents like this from happening,” Weiner said. “A renewed federal commitment to railroad safety and greater vigilance from local government is essential.”

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